Lockdown South African style for Kilsyth minister

Globetrotting Kilsyth ex-pat Reverend James Patrick has been sharing an insight into his life in lockdown in South Africa.

Currently in his base of Cape Town, he admits that summer travel plans may have to be postponed – including one to undertake locum work at the Scots Church in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.

James said : “The arrangement still stands and I’m hoping to come to Kilsyth in June en route, but that depends on how things unfold. Meanwhile, there is a very strict lockdown in South Africa.

“We’re not allowed out except to go and buy food. You can’t take a walk, even if you have a dog. I now live near the world-famous Kirstenbosch Gardens but they are closed.

“In addition, for reasons that have not been made clear, the sale of alcohol and cigarettes is banned.

“However, the lockdown is giving us a break from ‘loadshedding’ – power cuts up to three times a day, each between two and three hours. South Africa is critically short of electricity, owing to lack of planning and poor management but with industries at a standstill and businesses shut down, there’s enough for domestic use.

“I have to say that I’m quite appreciating what the Queen in her address called ‘a time to pause and reflect and meditate’.

“From a spiritual point of view, it’s like a retreat. And I listened to the Easter weekend online services from Burns and Old Parish Church. Congratulations to them for moving so smartly to meet a big need.”

However, James realises that matters may get worse in South Africa before they get better.

He added :“With the strict lockdown and consequently people out of work, there have been multiple cases of looting of food shops and liquor outlets.

“It’s recognized that “there is a degree of desperation”, but the offices of the South African Social Security Agency responsible for distributing assistance have been closed as part of lockdown!“

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